Archive for the ‘It’s the 3 Little Things’ Category

November Happy List

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Have you been missing the 3 little things list each week? Just so you know, this feature didn’t go away…it just moved over to my newsletters each week.

I know your time is precious and our inbox can get overloaded with a lot of newsletter junk. What I want you to know though is that I’m REALLY proud of the newsletters I craft each week and I include loads of shows, podcasts, books, and items we are loving in our home each week.

Sign up is super quick over here. I will even send you some free printables that you can put to work in organizing your home for the holidays.

Today I wanted to share what you might have missed this past month in one big giant happy list!!

My November Happy List

 

Baking Smells Without the Baking

Anybody else love the smell of freshly baked goods, but don’t really have the time to bake them? I moved my diffuser into my office and discovered this bakery oils set that I can diffuse while tackling things on my working to-do list.

With smells like gingerbread, coffee cake, and pumpkin pie, with my faux fireplace blazing, it is feeling deliciously cozy down in my office.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I was a big fan of the show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and excited to see that Netflix was revisiting the Sabrina theme.

In case you didn’t know, this is not the same story of Sabrina really at all. Archie Comics released an Archie Horror series in 2014 that was about Sabrina in the 1960’s with much darker themes.

In fact, it is so dark that they are being sued right now because some of their elements are feeling just a tad too authentic.

This show is not one I would watch with my kids, but has been a good escape in the evenings with my hubby.

He does not enjoy horror AT ALL, but he has been loving this series as much as me as Sabrina figures out if she is a good witch or a bad witch…or if she even wants to be a witch at all.

Since this series is done by the same folks who produce Riverdale, I have enjoyed finding the easter eggs they have hidden for their Riverdale fans within this season. You may also recognize the lead actress from her Mad Men days! Wasn’t she the best in that show?

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

The one thing on my fall clothing bucket list that I REALLY wanted were these faux leather leggings that I kept hearing people rave about.

Although I’m not arguing that these make you look and feel slimmer, they were more appealing to me because of their compression aspect and how much better my whole body feels with any type of compression on it. In fact, a lot of people with my condition wear compression garments under their regular clothes for pain.

I mean, how can my husband argue with me that these are a sound investment when it helps with pain management. #iplayedthatcard

In all seriousness, I could not love these more and how much they dress up an outfit while still being, technically, black leggings.

They have a little shine to them, but not the ’80’s aerobic shine. Just a faux leather-y glimmer that makes these feel a step above the rest.

Paired with a couple of well-chosen items I got in my Stitch Fix box, I feel like these will be my holiday go-to.

Warm Matcha Drinks

I am not a breakfast eater, but I do love a warm drink in the morning. I have been combining 1 teaspoon matcha powder with a 1.5 cups of almond milk, a tablespoon of this, and a scoop of vanilla protein powder.

I just blend it all in a pot on my stove with my trusty handheld blender  for my morning pick-me-up.

Haven’t tried matcha before?

Here is why it’s such a great coffee alternative!

Salt Fat Acid Heat

Looking for a cooking show that will also get your wanderlust heart going?

I had no idea how enraptured I would be with this beautiful 4-part Netflix series and how much it would make me long to explore more dishes and places in the world.

Based on Samin Nosrat’s best-selling book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is the essential guide to the basic elements of good cooking and the hostess couldn’t be more charming. Check out the trailer and indulge in this one with your family.

Socks For Cold People

I love ballet flats and booties, but, dang, those tiny baby socks offer no warmth at all. When fall hits, I switch to these because they do a better job of insulating my legs from the Midwest cold. Even better? They don’t slip off, thanks to their perfectly designed length.

Adam Sandler’s Netflix Special

When I was in college, Adam Sandler came to Purdue and my hubby (then boyfriend) and I got the opportunity to catch his show. I have loved this man ever since.

When it was my night to pick our show for the evening (do you take turns at your house too?), I selected Adam’s new special and laughed and laughed and laughed until I cried.

He has all new original music throughout and, at 51 (!!!),  a whole new perspective on life as a father and husband.

I didn’t expect to be so choked up at the end though, but he brought out all the tears with a touching tribute to Chris Farley and to his fans. I wasn’t the only one raving– critics are digging it too!

For those that have been turned off by so much political banter with comedians, you will find that Adam doesn’t dive into that once and just brings the laughs we need right now.

My Fall Stitch Fix Box

I had about given up on Stitch Fix because I wasn’t really loving the quality of the items that were being shipped and I didn’t think any of the items felt like they were worth the prices they were charging…well, until this month.

Here is what I have learned, you MUST be specific in the notes section to your stylist because that is what they will really use to select your box.  I made specific requests this time like, “I would like a black romper that can be worn for many seasons and is made for a petite pear-shaped girl. I would like a wool car coat preferably in a neutral or blush tone.”

Making specific requests made an enormous difference in my box and I’m having a hard time selecting items this go-round.

If you haven’t tried it before, here is $25 to spend to have a stylist select a box of pretties for your fall wardrobe. Keep in mind, they style for men, women, and kiddos now. I am thinking of giving my hubby a box for Christmas this year.

Winning Those GoodReads Giveaways

Did you know that GoodReads offers giveaways to their readers ALL THE TIME. I won the latest releases from Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult, M.O. Walsh, & Taylor Jenkins Reid this past month.

Although I am able to get a lot of books for free from online review companies, I then am required to give a review back to keep receiving them.

Giveaways are a no pressure way to secure copies of books I am wanting without the pressure of getting reviews up right away.

Check the GoodReads giveaways page for current giveaways and always follow your favorite author profiles so you are notified when they share a giveaway with their readers. I am REALLY excited to be diving into this book this week.

By the way, you can follow what I’m reading over here, if you are interested!

A User’s Guide to Cheating Death

Greenwashing is such a big thing right now and I can’t tell you how many products and services I have been told to buy since I got sick that I had no clue if they really had any merit or value.

If you love Alton Brown and his food science lessons, you are going to have a big ol’ crush on Timothy Caulfield as he debunks a lot of the fake science that we are being sold in the wellness industry.

It is sure to get a few people pissed off, but we are being sold a lot of snake oil these days.  I learned so much!

RBG Documentary

I am sure it goes without saying that this has been a rough time for many when it comes to politics. I try to be a distraction from that and share my opinions around the dinner table, but I was looking for a little salve for my soul after the recent headline news.

For our family night, we indulged in the new Hulu RBG documentary.

If you are unfamiliar with the original Notorious, it is time to get acquainted with this insanely gifted woman.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a legacy and icon status unlike any other judicial figure. And for good reason. This documentary follows the life, challenges, and accomplishments of everyone’s favorite 85 year old.

It is super family-appropriate and gave us a lot to chat about.

Like, um, how lazy I felt after I watched it.

This woman is IMPRESSIVE.

Burning the candle at BOTH ends and still hitting the gym like a boss.

Don’t have Hulu? No worries! Check out Hulu for free, on me for your first month. And while you have it, enjoy The Handmaid’s Tale while you have your freebie activated. It’s AH-MAZING!

Water Bottle Brush Set

In an effort to cut down on waste, I have really been pushing that the kids take reusable water bottles to school. With the stainless interior, I worried about scraping up these while washing them and didn’t feel like shaking a little water with soap in them was really getting them clean enough.

Enter this amazing gadget and our water bottles have never been cleaner.

Narrow enough to get to the bottom easily and a perfect addition to getting those wine glasses clean too without scratching the glass up. It’s a win-win for ALL the hydration in our house and under $5.

Knock-Off Halo Top Ice Cream

Did you know that ALDI is offering grocery delivery now?

SERIOUSLY.

I am the happiest girl in the world right now.

Although, there are some fees (obviously) with delivery, I have more time to think/plan/add/remove items so that I feel like we may actually be doing MUCH better budget-wise. You can check and see if they are delivering in your area over here.

And I have one more reason to REALLY love Aldi.

They launched a low fat ice cream line that rivals my favorite Halo Top ice cream. It is SO good and it is a mere, $3.59 a pint. You can’t beat that for a treat that feels indulgent. One spoon please!

An Addictive Podcast

I have discovered that I can enjoy podcasts while I am doing some of my busy work on the website and consumed all seven episodes of Uncover: Escaping NXIVM in a single day. If you are an HSP (highly sensitive person), I wouldn’t recommend this one, but if you can handle it…this is a REALLY fascinating one.

Cults have always fascinated me and, perhaps, that is why I was drawn to this podcast. You may have read that Smallville actress Allison Mack was arrested on sex trafficking charges as a result of being a member of this group. The original pitched intention of the group was to gather like-minded people to help them attain personal growth and fulfillment through expensive courses they sold.

Yeah, another pyramid scheme.

Yet, behind the scenes, their leader Keith Raniere was crafting courses that sought to belittle and humiliate the women in the group as much as possible. It is quite astounding the ways they are belittled especially since these women are incredibly intelligent and gifted leaders.

The series is hosted by Joshua Bloc, who happened to have a childhood friend who had been a member of this group for twelve years. She gives listeners an inside look into what attracted her to the group and how quickly it turned.

The psychological games of cults are always fascinating and one can see how these groups prey and breakdown these women.

Tunes for Autumn

I have finally got my house all decorated for fall. I’m pretty sure that I have more bins for fall than I do for Christmas. It is, really, my favorite season. While I decorated, I listened to this autumn playlist I made.

I just wanted to share it with you today because it is one of my favorites.

I happen to know that it pairs quite well with a good cup of coffee.

My New Cricut Obsession

I finally took the plunge and bought a Cricut. After looking at all the options, the original Cricut Explore Air and the newest version only had a difference in how fast it could crank out my project.

People, if it is cheaper, I will wait all day for it to crank out!

I ended up getting this one with the bundle package and that has been the best way to try out all the different materials and get to know my machine for a fraction of the price of their newer version.

It turns out that everyone in my family is moving (except us) so I have been cranking out some housewarming gifts this week. The first thing I attempted to try was making painted signs. As soon as I posted a picture of my first sign, I got SO many responses from people that they 1) never took it out of its box or 2) were too intimidated to try painting signs.

You know I was feeling REALLY smug, but also had NO CLUE that this wasn’t where people normally started. It took me two days to make this sign, there may have been cursing, but I was SO proud. I decided to pay for the access to their graphics and these two signs were made and then personalized from these files.

Once I get the hang of it, I promise to share a tutorial with you.

I spent way too many hours reading tutorials and watching YouTube to count before I actually put the paint on the signs. It has a learning curve, for sure, but I think it is going to be worth it for holiday gifts.

A Show to Fill the Parenthood Void

A girlfriend had texted me  to share about a show on Netflix she thought we would enjoy. It’s called Atypical and I have been absolutely loving it.

This story follows Sam, a boy who is on the autism spectrum, and his quest for love and dating that ends up putting the entire family on their own individual quests of self-discovery.

With a child on the spectrum, I have loved seeing how these parents work with their child and help guide him through his teen years.

I also identify with the mother who is figuring out her new place when she is not needed as much at home.

This show has heart and humor, while showing the challenges and beauty in raising a child on the spectrum.

It did receive a lot of criticism on its first season for not being as informed as it should have been with the creation of Sam’s character. It seems they tried very hard to right some of those wrongs as they approached their second season.

It isn’t perfect, but it has been a really great escape.

Bringing the Outdoors In

I posted a picture on IG and someone was like, “Where did you find a grownup papasan chair?” and I had to share that I, actually, had dragged my outdoor chair in to read.

This giant chair makes me SO happy and has been a great way to take pressure off some of my old lady joints. I only mention this because I noticed they dropped the prices considerably and this cushion makes it look like it is an indoor chair rather than for its intended outdoor use.

When I was a kid, I would have died and gone to heaven to have one of these cool chairs in my room. My sister was the same way and rushed out to get one for her new place and we both have deemed it the perfect reading chair.

My only trouble?

Staying awake in it!

Pajama Jeans

I discovered these pajama jeans and I am in HEAVEN. The online reviews were so stellar that I had to check them out and these are my new favorite go-to pant. I bought the light and dark washes and have worn them every day since I got them.

They come in a variety of colors too although, personally, I would stick with the black and jean rinses because the others seemed to highlight my figure flaws. Although I would normally wear a small, I sized up one since they are cotton and they fit me well without being too tight.

I can’t rave about the comfort of these enough so if you need a little break from your leggings this winter, these look like real jeans, but are as glorious as maternity pants and your favorite pajamas. Do get them!
And if you need to suck it up one night, these are almost as comfortable and oh-so-figure flattering.

Our personal happiness this month was two kids really rocking their report cards, working really hard on a campaign for the holidays that I’m super proud of, joining Junior League (and meeting incredible friends), my hubby discovering the South Bend tennis table club, and finally seeing someone who I’m FINALLY making some medical progress with.

High fives all around this month for that stuff.

I hope my month of happy brings a month of happy to you too! If this post doesn’t convince you my newsletter is fun, I’ve got nothing. Sign up over here to get this fun weekly in your inbox.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

It’s the 3 Little Things

Friday, July 27th, 2018

project 333 summer outfit (shirt (on clearance!!)/ skirt (on clearance!!)/ peep toe shoes/ earrings)

I hope your summer is going well. I realize I have been a bit M.I.A. this summer, but the struggle with typing really intensified this month. I have an appointment with a surgeon next month to see what my options are, but this week I turned a corner after finding a gadget to help with my ongoing carpal tunnel issues. It has been so good to sit back at my desk and type without pain again. I realize it is a short term solution, but it really works.

You can read more about why it’s making me happy below.

treehouse

treehouse

Our son celebrated his sixteenth birthday with a big surprise this year! We rented a gorgeous treehouse in Nashville on airbnb (here is $40 on a rental to spend if you haven’t tried it yet!) to celebrate his special day. We had an incredible week exploring Nashville and enjoying the gorgeous views from our treehouse.

It was as magical as I had hoped it would be and I’m so thankful to have raised such an awesome young man. I really believe that he is going to do incredible things for our world with his kindness and intelligence. I know that he has taught me a lot through the process of parenting him.

Here are 3 other things that are making me happy this week:

sworkit

Sworkit

I have been going to the gym for years and years, but my body just has not been cooperating the way I need to have good workouts that don’t have setbacks. I have been doing a lot of research on what types of things I need to do to help support my body and core strength is a big thing for me. I discovered the Sworkit app and I could not be happier right now with my new routine.

If you have not heard of it, it is a pretty genius concept. Basically, you pick what you want to work on (like strength, cardio, stretching, or yoga) and it builds a workout based on the time you have available each day. You can follow a plan just based on that or you can vary your routine with a large variety of routines geared towards your own fitness levels. Once you select your routine, a trainer demos each step and you do it for a set length of time and then it repeats with several moves to help the area you are working to target.

Best of all, you don’t need anything except a mat and it can be done from anywhere (I can see how awesome this will be for travel). I have this cushy one and I just do my own modifications to the routines to help keep my body on track.

I love that there is no annoying music, but they do have playlists that are really fun or you can use your own playlists on Spotify or Apple. I also love that you can message trainers and ask questions about your own personal training.

I am working my way through the Strength routine and pairing this with my Cyclecast and this foldable stationary bike (one of my favorite self-care purchases) for some low-impact cardio.

My body is really embracing the new changes and I am too. I miss the socialization aspect of the gym, but I also acknowledge that this is a really great option right now. Slowed down, intentional movement, and shorter routines are what my body needs right now. You can certainly do fast and long on this same app though. If you haven’t worked out in a million years, ain’t no shame. They have a really incredible routine for coming back after your hiatus and even a set for older adults (three cheers for that!).

This year I am learning to listen to my body more and changing this routine was really important for me.

The membership runs about $10 a month and you get a significant discount if you pay for the year. They also offer a free 30-day trial to see if it is right for you.

I plan to put my gym membership savings towards a self-care item like massage therapy or chiropractic care this year.

I can’t wait to see how my body changes from these new routines.

carpal tunnel bracelets

Carpal Tunnel Bracing that WORKS

If you have carpal tunnel and are struggling to keep your symptoms under control, I finally found a carpal tunnel brace that works and works with your daily life. I bought two of these M Brace RCA braces and finally have an amazing amount of pain relief.

I will be honest, these don’t look like much. It is a simple velcro strip with a square plastic piece. Depending on where your symptoms are located, you just position the square where you need it and secure it to your wrists (or forearms). Although I am no doctor, I think the brace just provides added support where your wrist needs to help minimize the pain. Within an hour of putting these on my wrists, my finger pain stopped almost completely. It is unbelievable that such a simply designed item can work more effectively than anything else I have ever tried.

I am still using these to sleep in (I have a tendency to bend my wrists in weird ways when I sleep- hahaha) and I also have one oval-8 splint on my pointer finger to help support it with my mouse and texting, but the hand pain relief is absolutely incredible.

These aren’t fashionable and, yes, I am thinking of modifying them with some craft supplies, but I am just so thankful to have pain-free fingers. I still plan to see the surgeon, but this has changed the game a lot in the meantime. If you even have mild carpal tunnel issues, I think these would help you so much.

Kindle Paperwhite

I Got a Paperwhite

Everyone raves and raves about their Paperwhite so when they dropped in price on Prime Day, I decided to scoop one up for myself. I am in reading HEAVEN right now with this little gadget. My hubby had bought me the original Kindle and I used it for a long time, but got out of the habit of using it. This Paperwhite is amazingly light though and is saving my old lady joints to not have to lug books around with me.

My favorite feature is the nightlight though because I have been able to read until wee hours in the morning without disturbing my husband. Ironically, the power went out that week and I consumed three books over the weekend with all my phone-free time.

I got this simple cover (recommended by my fellow bookworm, Kaytee!!) and it helps free my hands up even more with its clever design. I love that I can just prop my book up while I am having my lunch.

Looking forward to sharing what I read this month with you soon. Believe me when I say, it is quite the stack!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

It’s the 3 Little Things

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Target Style top/ bottoms/ sandals/leg glowcactus welcome mat

As predicted, summer is already starting to fly by. I always think that there will be endless days of sitting with books and enjoying the sunshine, but we have already started the scheduling of physicals, running to and fro to friend’s houses, the endless outdoor chores, and that whole staying up way too late and sleeping in way too late thing too.

One thing I did pick back up though is my yoga routine and it has made me so happy to be back on my yoga mat again. If you are local and looking for a class, be sure to give this studio a try. I’m all about women supporting women in business and Abbi will be celebrating her first year as a business owner. If you have owned a business, you know there are so many hurdles and joys that come from finally getting launched. Getting that first year behind you is a major milestone so head over and show this passionate lady some support.

Here are 3 other things that are making me happy!

Kid Dates

Operation Date Your Kids

As a mom of big kids, I find it challenging to keep them engaged (and off their devices in the summer). Since we nixed the pool membership this year, that freed up some summer funds to try something different.

I proposed that each kid get a solo date with me and they could pick any (budget-friendly) thing that they wanted to do with me for the week. Unfortunately, my sweet girl got sick so we ended up just popping stovetop popcorn and renting this sweet flick from the library.

My son did cash in on his date and asked if he could GO TO THE LIBRARY (insert all the heart-eyed emojis EVAH) and to grab a coffee together.

Two introverts were doing what we loved best…just sitting in silence, sipping coffee, and reading our books.

I did manage to squeeze a few fun facts out of him though on the way so I consider week one a success.

I can’t wait to see what they want to do next week.

selfie-stick

A Well-Designed Selfie Stick

I never thought I would be the type of person that carried around a selfie stick and, yet, here we are.  I thought it might be a good investment for my website, but what I didn’t realize was how awesome it was to document moments with my kids.

That picture above?

Yup, just whipped out the selfie stick.

NBD.

I had one and it quickly broke and I never replaced it. This selfie stick is one of the most cleverly designed tech gadgets though that I have. It folds to a small size, but can be extended short or long for your shots. It also has a tripod which is so handy for my Marco Polo time and Instagram Stories.

Since it has Bluetooth, it syncs with your phone so you can take the photos. Charging is just like charging your phone- no batteries required.

If you want to document time with your kids this summer and be in the pictures, snag this ASAP. You won’t regret it!

hanes ex-temp bra

A Sweat Proof Bra

It has been a million degrees here and I needed to replace my undergarments (*ahem*).  After checking out the crazy-town prices on bras, I decided to check to see if Walmart offered some better options for my budget. I ended up buying three different brands (all of them are amazing- I’ll tell you more after I give the other two a test run), but the one that wins for this summer is this Hanes X-Temp Bra.

The reason why I like it is that it is made from fabric that is meant to adapt to the temperatures you need it throughout the day.

Boob sweat?

#thestruggleisreal

I spent a whole day running around yesterday and I was cool and collected in my bra…while the rest of me was a hot mess.

Hey, you can’t have everything.

I also LOVE the price on these and the fact that they don’t have an underwire. I purchased the nude option and you can’t see it under my summer white blouses.

Give this option a try!

netflix source

A few quick things I also loved this week-

Giving these shoes a test run. I’ll keep you posted!

Psyched one of my favorite authors has a new book for me to read. I’m putting this one in my earbuds this weekend.

My favorite stovetop popcorn method.

These salads will be happening this week.

I ordered this for my son’s birthday. He’s going to flip!

This speech was amazing.

I needed to read this.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things

Friday, June 8th, 2018

ethan

Our son made it through his first year of high school and we couldn’t be prouder. This was such a big transition (for all of us) and it has been such a joy to see him flourish in his new environment.  Since his sister has a sleepover, on the last day of school, we got to take this kid out on his own and celebrate with a little pizza.

I know that I say this often, but it does feel like I blink my eyes and another year together has passed. We are looking forward to another year of savoring the memories with them and even have planned a super secret epic adventure for his 16th birthday. I’d tell you what it is, but I have discovered that my kids follow me around on the interwebz more than I think that they do.

To not acknowledge the elephant in the room today would be wrong on my part. It is so sad to wake up and hear the news of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade this week. I have struggled with both depression and anxiety so I feel like I have a strong understanding of the ups and downs of mental illness. The ups can be so beautiful, but the lows, for me, have felt awfully lonely. The world we live in, with our constant sharing and highlight reels, can make all of this even more crippling. These words really resonated with me today.

I’m not going to pretend I have the answers, but what I do know is that I never EVER have been sad when I reached out to a therapist or to my family doctor to treat my illnesses. It takes a lot of bravery to say, “I’m not okay.” Over the years, I can see the patterns and behaviors that contribute to my illness. I also can see the people who hinder my mental health and have learned how important boundaries are. The other thing is that I have started telling people I love that I’m not okay and that I need help.

For a perfectionist, it makes me feel very vulnerable that I can’t get my shit together.

Each time I say it out loud though, I try to take action.

Today, I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and you are loved.

Saying it out loud takes bravery, but the next steps can be so rewarding to feel present again in your life.

Here are three silly things that are bringing me joy this week…

love letters review

Love Letters Card Game

If you are looking for a fun card game that you can carry in your purse, that has quick rounds, and a blast to play (no matter your age), then you must check out Love Letters.

love letters

The story around the game is that all of the eligible young men (and many of the not-so-young) seek to woo the princess of Tempest. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the Palace, and you must rely on others to bring your romantic letters to her. In this 16-card game,  each player starts with only one card in hand; one card is removed from play. On a turn, you draw one card, and play one card, trying to expose others and knock them from the game. Powerful cards lead to early gains, but make you a target. Rely on weaker cards for too long, however, and your letter may be tossed in the fire.

The rounds are fifteen minutes (or less) and are so much fun. We brought this out to dinner with us and it was the perfect way to pass some time while waiting for our pizza. This game also happens to be less than $10, which sits perfectly in this frugal girl’s budget. Check it out!

Bob's Burgers Bob’s Burgers

One of the things that has been bringing me a lot of joy in the evenings is curling up with my hubby to watch, Bob’s Burgers. I’m probably the last person on the planet to discover how hilarious this show is, but I absolutely adore the writing, smart animation, and music in this show.

Are there any other Bob’s Burgers fans out there?

I have laughed until I’ve cried through several of these episodes and I’m going to be sad when we are all caught up because watching a handful of these has been just the fun medicine I needed when I wasn’t feeling good.

You can catch up on the show through Hulu, if you are the last, LAST person on earth to realize how perfect this show is.

jockey slip shorts Jockey Slip Shorts

I think that I heard about these from Jessica, over at The Mom Creative, and kept this info in the back of mind for our next summer season.

I have become a HUGE fan though of Jockey Slip Shorts (on sale today, buy 1, get 1 50% off so I’m stocking up!!) for underneath my summer dresses.

Although, I love the idea of Spanx, I don’t find them comfortable or as breathable in the summer. That said, I need something to hide underwear lines and prevent that summer jiggle (hahaha!). These Jockey Slip Shorts are a great compromise and have been such a great foundation piece under my clothes.

I highly recommend these!

A few quick things I also loved this week-

This movie– although I was UGLY CRYING through it. SO incredibly good. Run, run, run to the theater to see it.

My favorite show is back.

We needed a patio umbrella so we got the big guns and it is epically perfect for huge coverage on our patio.

This popping up in my Instagram.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things

Friday, May 25th, 2018

anniversary-1

anniversary-2

anniversary-3

I celebrated 18 married years with my hubby this past weekend.  When I look at these pictures I realize what babies we were when we made these monumental vows. As we have grown up together, I believe it really is a lottery moment when you grow up and grow into people that you both really like. We barely resemble these two kids who said, “I do,” but I can’t imagine doing the hard tasks of adulting with anyone else.

Here are three other things that are making me happy this week!

The Pickup Line

The Pickup Line

If you are looking for a newsletter that can keep you informed on the headlines, help you figure out what to make for dinner, and even provide a playlist for your ride, look no further than The Pickup Line.

The exciting news for me (and maybe for you too!) is that I will be sharing a book selection for moms AND a YA book selection for tweens/teens each week with their subscribers.   You can catch my feature in their amazing newsletter on Wednesdays. I hope I can find a few books for you that haven’t made your stack yet!

Feel free to subscribe over here.

summer-quilt

The Perfect Summer Quilt

I have been on the hunt for a great lightweight quilt for our beds and I discovered these inexpensive quilts that fit the bill perfectly. Not only are they under $20, they are the perfect weight for those humid summer evenings. They come in several hues, have a beautiful quilted pattern, and are made of a really cozy material. I think you will like them too! I plan to get them for all the beds in our house since our upstairs is so much warmer than our lower levels.

blow dry spray

Quick Dry Primer Spray

Did you know that they make a primer spray that can help you cut down on how long it takes to blow dry your hair? Well, they do and I am absolutely loving it. I pair it with this smart brush, that allows the air to circulate better, and have cut my blow dry time down in half.  With this to finish it, I feel like I get a professional blowout in no time flat (and without the hefty price tag).

4th-of-july-flag-fruit-dessert-tray-3 source

Reading: I just finished this book for book club and ADORED it. As a record collector, this one really hit home for me. You can join the book club over here– it is FREE.

Playing: We are really loving this board game right now and I am hoping we can play it again over the holiday weekend.

Watching: This adorable movie with my girl. If you haven’t seen it yet, add it to your agenda. It’s the sweetest!

Loving: These new summer sandals. The criss-cross in chambray adds such an adorable detail & I’m loving that these come in a wide width. Lucky for you, they are also 40% off with coupon code SAVE40.

Inspired: By this thoughtful list of summer activities to try. These small acts of self-care are also inspiring for my weekend.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

It’s the 3 Little Things

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Rent the Runway

It’s Fri-yay and a perfect time to share a quick recap before I pack my bags and leave again.

I know, I know!

These past two months have been bonkers and I’m so grateful for every minute of it.

If you recall, I was in Pasadena for the Mom 2.0 Summit last week.  As always, the conference was an absolute glam-fest and full of incredible speakers. Kristen Bell and Brené Brown were both as fantastic, dynamic, and real as I had hoped they would be. I also walked away with a lot of notes about how to manage this corner of the internet better.

Even after fourteen years, I continue to be a work in progress.

For me, it is all about being with my friends and many, that I had not seen in five years or more (!!!),  ended up attending this conference. It was so fun to be reunited again!

Being nominated for an Iris Award for Best Mom Blog was such an honor. Although I did not win, I am proud to have written the content I did and for the community I have worked so hard to cultivate here.

Taye Diggs

I timed my bathroom break, after the show, perfectly too! Taye Diggs, our host for the evening’s event, happened to be in the lobby while I was walking through. It was such an honor to meet him. I am also happy to report that he was just as I had hoped he would be. He’s got those Midwest manners down and graciously took a picture with me.

How awesome is that?

My frocks were courtesy of Rent the Runway and I only had to stuff two of these in the top to make it work. Hahaha! #bodygoals

By the way, I noticed that RTR is running a special for Memorial Day weekend. Rent 1, Get 2 free for your festivities. A common misconception is that they only offer ballgowns. They actually offer lots of cute everyday dresses and apparel too. If you have anything fun happening that weekend (and haven’t used their services before), here is $30 credit too to put towards your purchase.

Costco

Where am I headed next?

My Mother’s Day gift is renting a Lake Michigan home with my childhood bestie for the weekend.

We plan to do NOTHING for ANYONE and we are so excited.

I am a newbie to Costco (tell me your tips!!) and noticed these premade meals would be perfect so neither of us has to cook.

Plans include sitting in a hot tub, moving to the couch, drinking wine, maybe switching couches, sleeping in, and not getting dressed. After that? Maybe move to a chair.

Doesn’t that sound like a great Mother’s Day gift?

I think so.

Here are 3 other things making me happy this week…

Genius Caffeine

Genius Caffeine

I shared with you that I found out I have silent reflux and that has meant modifying my diet a bit. I find that coffee, sadly, has been a big contributor to my symptoms. I really need a pick-me-up in the morning though so I started researching supplement options.

For the last month, I have been using something called Genius Caffeine and I can’t tell you how much it has improved my mental clarity, reduced my caffeine jitters, and even helped me to sleep better than I was before.

Genius Caffeine pills offer the equivalent caffeine of a standard cup of coffee (100 mg. per tablet).  Since I was drinking a pot a day, I wondered if I would feel hungover switching to this supplement option.  Lo and behold, I had no troubles at all switching and I feel clearer mentally than I have in a long time.

The difference between this and the coffee is that it is an extended release tablet. Basically, I would have that UP and then DOWN and then UP with coffee. That’s why I kept drinking it. I kept craving the UP.

With these, the tablet releases the caffeine slowly so you never have those highs and lows that come with coffee drinking.  I’m pretty sure I have ADHD, as it runs in my family,  so this has helped me with sustaining focus. I pair it with this supplement to help treat the ADHD symptoms naturally.  (PS- if you have a child with ADHD, please read my series on the diagnosis and treatment process we went through with our son- part one, part two, part three)

I can’t say enough good things if you are trying to ditch the coffee-pot-a-day habit too.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Meeting Katherine Center

The book I chose for last week’s flight was, How to Walk Away by Katherine Centers. I devoured the entire book on my flight and just could not put it down. It’s one of those books that you just want to pass on to a girlfriend after you finish it.

In case you missed my April book reviews, I shared that if you are a Me Before You fan, you wouldn’t want to miss this gorgeous summer read.

In this story, you must imagine that you are terrified of flying and, just as you always suspected, you are in a tragic accident. This is exactly what unfolds from the opening chapters of How to Walk Away, and the reader is taken along the journey as Kit’s life, as she knows it, is forever changed.

Also, imagine that the person you love walks away from the experience unscathed.

The book centers around the difficult recovery, the surprises of those who step up in tragedies, the sadness around those that walk away, and how to find love again.

I was so proud of myself that I got these reviews up while I was at the conference and just had jotted down my thoughts about how much I had enjoyed the book. I also shared with my roomie that I thought she should pick up this book for her next trip.

In a funny twist of fate, she came upstairs and said, “I’m pretty sure that the author is downstairs signing books right now.”

I ran downstairs and there was Katherine Center signing books and chatting with the conference attendees.

Can you believe my luck?

I will be shocked if we don’t see this book come to the movie theaters and I also told Katherine that I feel that she has a sequel in this story because I would love to see how Kit’s life continues to unfold. Hey, if Jojo Moyes can do it, why can’t she?

Best of all, Katherine will be joining us for a Sundays With Writers. Now that makes me SUPER happy.  Stay tuned!

sidedoor podcast

Sidedoor Podcast

Did you know that the Smithsonian has a podcast series? Our Florida road trip included A LOT of podcasts and we talked about which were our favorites on our way home. Almost everyone loved episodes from the Sidedoor Podcast the most. The premise is that more than 154 million treasures fill the Smithsonian’s vaults, but where public view ends, Sidedoor begins. With the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers, and astrophysicists, host Tony Cohn sneaks listeners through Smithsonian’s side door to search for stories that can’t be found anywhere else.

We listened to several episodes and two that I found the most fascinating were Murder is Her Hobby and A Crane with a Crush.

I guarantee once you start this podcast, you are going to have a hard time stopping. It’s FASCINATING.

Oh, and a few quick things that I don’t want to forget to tell you-

EDS Awareness Month

May is Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month. There are three out of four people in my family that are dealing with this disease and I shared about my initial diagnosis over here. SO MANY people have this and are never treated. Do you have mystery symptoms that you have never gotten an explanation on? Here is my story.

This is what I gave my moms for Mother’s Day.

I’m working on my capsule and snagged a few things off this list.

Wanna know what I plan to put in my earbuds next? This book.

I bought these because they come in a wide width… and they are ten bucks. SOLD!

Looking to expand your reading wish list?  Each week I ask what people are reading and get a couple hundred responses. You can read them too.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends! May you be celebrated in all the ways that your heart desires.

xoxo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

 

 

 

It’s the 3 Little Things

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Happy Friday!

How long has it been since I shared a few of my favorite things?

Too long, in my opinion!

It’s been all good things this month and I wanted to catch you up a bit and then share what’s been making me happy this week.

It has been a busy month of fun travel this past month! After visiting the HGTV Smart Home with SimpliSmart, I headed to Florida with the family for our first really long road trip (where we learned about team building- hahaha!), and then I headed to Whistler with the Maven Coalition.

All of these opportunities were made possible, by this amazing supplement that came in just the nick of time.

Next week I’m off again to head to Pasadena for the Mom 2.0 Conference, which was a surprise trip this month.  Typically, our ballet festivities happen around this time of year so I decided to not secure a ticket to the event. The ballet festivities got moved to June though and then this happened…

Iris Awards Nominee

There was an email in my inbox that said, “Congratulations! You were selected and recognized as a 2018 Iris Award nominee for the distinguished Best Mom Blog of the Year Iris Award®, one of the year’s greatest achievements in parenting blogging as determined by your peers and leaders in media, journalism, marketing and the creative arts.”

This is where I promptly bursted into tears with my husband.

How awesome is this?

This was worth packing my suitcase again and I am SO excited to spend some time with my friends and learn how to continue to grow this space.

For you AND for me!

I need to sit down and finish out my no-spend challenge documentation, but decided since this month was so crazy that I would halt my plans to slow down on social media and commit to that in May instead. I’ll share more about that next week, but I am excited to see how it opens my eyes to my habits. I know that the no-spend challenge DEFINITELY opened my eyes A LOT and has been making me way more conscious of my spending habits this month.

Here are 3 other things that are making me happy!

Wild Wild Country Wild Wild Country

If you haven’t dug into the Netflix docu-series, Wild Wild Country yet, you will definitely want to add this to your watchlist. This series explores the controversial story of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), his one-time personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela, and their community of followers in Rajneeshpuram community that resided in Wasco County, Oregon in the ’80’s.

Imagine a sleepy and quiet town that is suddenly taken over by a religious group that no one really understands as they fall at the feet of an Indian guru who rides in on a Rolls Royce and has a red carpet rolled out at his feet.

Unbelievable, right?

The group takes over a huge acreage of land, next to the small town of Antelope, and build a compound where they can live and grow together in their way of life. When the town feels threatened by their presence, actions are taken to protect their community that they have built and many of these actions end up having devastating consequences.

We could not plow through this series quick enough and had lots of discussions since about what it means to be welcoming to people we don’t understand and our own human natures to shy away from anything that we don’t see as, “normal.”

In the current political climate, it fits really well with many of the themes that we have discussed around our dinner table about our love and acceptance of all. That said, this piece really sheds light on a bigger picture issue of the children that were left behind and while elements of this movement made since, many were disturbing as well.

I also found this piece compelling on why people gravitate towards cults and the differences between what defines a cult versus an organized religion.

I could talk about this one all day, but I’ll just say that this one gave us a lot to chew on and I think you might find it compelling too.

Swiftkey source

Swiftkey Keyboard

I am queen of shortcuts these days, especially when it comes to my hands and fingers. I joined a life hacks group for my health challenges, and one of the posters shared about the Swiftkey Keyboard (over here for iPhone) as a great option to help people who struggle with texting and typing on their phones.

Am I the last person on earth to discover how awesome this is?

Basically, you install this keyboard on your phone and it replaces your current keyboard. Instead of pecking at your keys, you can just drag your fingers across the letters to type the words. The keyboard is very intuitive so it gets the hang of your patterns quickly and then it starts predicting your words and where spaces should be.

I’m still getting the hang of the layout, but dragging my fingers versus the tapping I was doing seems to be slightly easier on my joints.

Nuun Electrolytes

Nuun Electrolytes

I am trying to do better about staying hydrated and since I have been traveling a lot, I decided to see if there were any electrolyte options that might travel well. I ran across the Nuun Electrolytes at my local vitamin store and thought I would pack them in my carry-on bag with an empty water bottle.

I have to say, this addition to my travel routine was such a smart one! Most electrolyte drinks have too much sugar in them and I usually have a major crash, thanks to my hypoglycemia. Most sports drinks actually have more sugar in them than two scoops of ice cream (!!!)  which explains why I crash so hard after I drink them.

These tablets have just 1 gram of sugar (you can read more about what’s in them over here) and have made drinking water a little more fun. I have loved the Fruit Punch and Mixed Berry flavors, in particular.

Not only are these great for travel, but I see these as a great hangover remedy too when I know the drinks will be flowing.

***

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends!! If you are looking for me, you’ll find me curled up with this book this weekend. Stay tuned for my favorite reads this month-

xoxo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

 

 

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: Amazing Expandable Table, 40th Birthday Fun, & Fiddle Leafing

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Birthday Cupcake

I know these lists typically happen on Fridays, but today I am scooting out to Nashville for a girl’s trip so I thought I’d bring the happy early. Thank you to so many of you for celebrating with me and the generous gifts to the Ehlers-Foundation! I raised $910 and the campaign is open for two more weeks, if you feel inclined to share a small donation in excuse of this special day. It has been such a great way to raise funds for a cause that is dear to our family. Thank you for all the generous gifts and birthday messages! I can admit that I was a weepy mess this week- just so thankful for my people and what God has given us.

Before I start with the happy list, I thought I would share this post with you today (in case you didn’t see it). One thing I’m working on is being more honest about my own journey and that means owning some of the shame that I have struggled with in my life. The response to this (publicly and privately) made me realize how important it is for EVERYONE to hear this.

If this is your struggle, please know that it was mine too. I get SO many emails from people wanting to start things and living in the fear that they don’t have anything to share, the fear of failure, and the fear that their voice doesn’t matter. This post I shared yesterday made me think about the labels we give ourselves, or maybe our family or friends have given us, and the importance of not owning that and creating an identity around it.  That doesn’t have to be your label. It just DOESN’T.

If you are carrying around that weight and shame or paralyzed with a fear of failure, please, please consider counseling! I was anti-counseling for a long time and then I went and I realized the reason I didn’t want to go is because I didn’t want to work on me. It has transformed my path so much to hear some of my own words echoed back to me and to contemplate the why in the labels I carry around.

For those of you that trusted me to share what you are struggling with- thank you! The things I post aren’t because I am so awesome at life, they are because I need to be reminded of these things just as much as you.

Let’s move on…how about some happy?

P.S.- See what made me happy this year and my word for 2018!

Janet Hill Lady Luck Painting

Unreal Birthday Happiness

My husband is definitely upping the game for his gifts for his 40th after his birthday surprises yesterday. The love and thought that went into the gifts was so sweet that I had to share it with you.

40th birthday surprise

 

40th-birthday-gift (5 of 7)

40th-birthday-gift (4 of 7)

40th-birthday-gift (3 of 7)

40th birthday gifts

Did I mention he’s an incredible web designer and we are art junkies? Since we do the want-need-wear-read gifts for the holidays, he wanted to do 4 gifts for my 40th with the same themes. The need was a laptop since mine was on its last leg and a girl has to have that if she wants to write a blog. The wear was the cute necklace that you can sort of see peeking out in the first picture.

The real surprises though just blew me away.

Mary_Poppins_and_Bert_2

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with Mary Poppins. In fact, when we went to Disney and met Mary Poppins, I started bawling.

I know this isn’t the real Mary Poppins, but I love her so much.

I was kind of like this, but a lot less adorable.

That’s why the Read gift was so special…

40th birthday gifts

This is my Mary Poppins book. A first edition that he had been working to secure this year. Not only did he do that, but he watched a ton of YouTube to figure out how to clean it and had it wrapped in the appropriate paper and a box so it won’t fade from the sun. Isn’t this the coolest thing EVER?

Also, this guy. I mean it, he is the real deal. I know I brag about him a lot, but only because it is true.

But, wait, there’s more.

40th-birthday-gift (7 of 7)

I am OBSESSED with Janet Hill. We have seven of her prints in our house and I never get tired of looking at them.

I subscribe to her notifications for original work, but as soon as it is listed, it is gone in about five minutes flat. This is no exaggeration, she is that good and coveted.

This guy actually snagged one of her originals, called Lady Luck, and gifted it to me as my Want.

I repeat, he got one of her paintings before anyone got to it (a nearly impossible feat). 

There is something so different about seeing a real painting versus the prints. I am madly in love with this and that the message around it is about hope and luck for the future. Who could use a little of that this year?

A birthday card from Janet Hill (I mean SERIOUSLY?) was the icing on the cake.

And now I am sweating about his birthday next year because who the heck could top this?

Truly, the most special day ever.

transforming x coffee table review

 

transforming x coffee table

My Transformation Table

I am SO excited to show you my incredibly cool coffee table that I got. First I just want to say that I plan to spray paint the legs when it is warmer because the finish doesn’t match our house, but it will when the paint can actually dry.

I found this table and it is SO amazing that I had to share it with you because it is a small space lover’s dream!
transforming-x-coffee-table-review (8 of 9)

This table can be a coffee table, like I have shown you above, but it is has a handy lever that allows the table to move up and down so it is height adjustable. You can adjust it to any height and then swivel the lever to lock it in place.  The adjustments can all be done one-handed and the lever moves easily.

transforming-x-coffee-table-review (3 of 9)

Here I have pulled it up to show you how it can narrow and adjust to a table for my laptop or, let’s be more honest, a good old-fashioned TV tray.

But that’s not all…

transforming-x-coffee-table-review (4 of 9)

transforming x table transforming x table review

It turns into a DINING TABLE FOR SIX.

We keep a stack of these metal chairs in the corner of our living room for the kids and their friends to play video games. These chairs fit comfortably around the table and now we have two tables for our lower level, giving us seating for ten people in our little space in our family room (!!!). I do a lot of entertaining and love hosting our Thanksgiving meal so now we will have a place for everyone without the hassle of hauling folding tables up and down the steps.

I have learned the beauty in buying really smart small space furniture over the years. This piece is a workhorse in our bathroom, these replaced mirrors on the walls (can’t believe that price because I paid a heck of a lot more!),  stackable chairs are my jam, this helps our small bedrooms gain more storage, and this foldable item is unreal awesome if you don’t want to overhaul your kitchen for an island (be sure to use your coupon!).

I have been wanting this table for a really long time and took the plunge when I saw this incredible price on it PLUS you can use your Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon on it. If you haven’t signed up for their coupons yet, it is worth it. If you use this link, it will help us pay for our table because I didn’t realize we were broke from my birthday (hahaha!)

I know it isn’t the prettiest piece in our house, but I have plans to do a little painting when the weather warms up. For now, it is just perfect as is and is already being used for date nights at home, board game nights, tackling work, and I look forward to entertaining my friends around it!

fiddle leaf fig

Unlocking Highest Hipster Levels (With Plants)

Say hello to my first Fiddle Leaf Fig. My girlfriend happened to find these at HOME DEPOT and sent me a picture to let me know that these were under $20!!

I feel like I have unlocked another hipster level in my game by owning one of these. I got some great advice on caring for this plant. Please pray for it while I’m on vacation. I am hoping to keep this plant alive for a long time. Not sure what the fuss is all about with the Fiddle Leaf Figs? You might enjoy this piece on how this plant became this year’s “it” plant!

I wish I could chat with you more, but I have some packing to do! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and thank you again for all the birthday love! It has been one for the books!

xoxo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

7 Things I’ve Learned That Save Us Serious Money

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Amy Clark

Hey, hey! Today is my big 4-0 and I keep wondering how I got to this milestone so quickly. In many ways, I wonder when I will feel like an adult. In other ways, I can see how much better I feel in my own skin and the wisdom that has been gained, especially in this last decade of years.

Before I launch into my list, I’d love to share that I am doing a birthday fundraiser on Facebook. I’m asking for donations to Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. The diagnosis of myself and my children has made the research from this organization an important one for us. I am donating this occasion in hopes that more funding can help provide those needed answers we are in search of.

If you have a buck or two to spare, I’d be thrilled to share this with the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation

In honor of this day, I wanted to share 7 things that I’ve learned that save us some serious money. As we continue to embrace our simplified path, I can see how being open to learning new skills and continuing to research new strategies has really paid off for us. As I get older, I find more and more joy in the life we have chosen and I’d love to share some of my favorite strategies today. 

birthday reflections

7 Things I’ve Learned That Save Us Serious Money

Restaurant-Style-Steak-Recipe-3

I Nailed a Restaurant-Worthy Steak

Steak dinners and fancy date nights were hard on our budget and learning to master making a perfectly restaurant-worthy steak has saved our family oodles of money. I’m not pro enough that I can touch it and distinguish its degree of doneness, but I do know how to work my digital meat thermometer like a boss and that’s almost the same thing. Our cast iron skillet (another frugal and wise investment) really sears our steaks so beautifully and the butter finish is a decadent treat.

Instead of paying over a hundred dollars for a filet dinner out, my hubby and I take trips to the supermarket and purchase a couple of steaks and a bottle of wine for less than the price of one meal at a restaurant. This recipe has been a go-to for our dates and for special occasions when we are celebrating our kids. It takes about ten minutes to pull this off (with a little roasted asparagus on the side) and everyone gets so excited about this meal.

My secret?

Loads of Kosher Salt, baby, and a screaming hot pan.

Let me know if you can give this technique a spin in your kitchen!

flipster

I Gave Up My Magazine Subscriptions

Magazines have been a weakness of mine and discovering our library has the Flipster app has made me SO incredibly happy this year. Basically, you can get a digital subscription to just about every magazine, check them out digitally, and read your magazines on your tablet or phone.

The best part has been being able to take screenshots of recipes and ideas for myself and as inspiration for our site as I page through them (soooo handy!!)

So far the only catch has been the length of time that you are allowed to check them out (it varies per magazine), but usually I can plow through one in a day and it costs ZERO bucks.

brunch

I Brunch Like a Boss…At Home

Brunch used to be a big weakness for me, but we rarely go out to brunch anymore now that I finally have a few smart brunch recipes up my sleeve.

I call this year the year of the egg because mastering a few techniques was on my cooking bucket list. The omelette, for example, was something that I just couldn’t get the hang of. It usually ended up into messy scrambled eggs over here.

brunch

Not anymore though.

Here’s a little picture proof because I know you don’t believe me!

I watched a YouTube video tutorial, found the perfect skillet for the job, and discovered how awesome coconut oil is for creating a nonstick surface for my omelette making. This has become a go-to for busy nights when I don’t feel like making dinner and is the new tried-and-true for a satisfying weekend brunch at home. It’s also a fantastic way to use up the odds and ends in your refrigerator.

If we aren’t in the mood for an omelette, this Chicken Pesto Frittata, Sausage & Vegetable Frittata, Gluten-Free Overnight Waffles, or these Light & Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes (I just sub with this flour now to make them gluten-free) are all in our brunch rotation.  Don’t forget this diy drink mix recipe for a delicious drink (with or without alcohol!)

Movie Pass

I Go to the Movies All the Time For Cheap-As-Heck

I’m wondering how long this offer will last, but this girl got on the Movie Pass train really early and it has been a highlight of the year. A membership is $9.95 a month and you can see a movie EVERY SINGLE DAY of the month at a REAL theater (should you so choose!) by only paying the membership fee.

If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll try to explain it as briefly as I can. You sign up, they mail a card that looks like a debit card (can take awhile, fyi!), you download the app, head to your theater to check-in on the app, and it says something like, “enjoy the show!” When you head to the counter, you just use the pass instead of your debit card and that’s it.

Obviously, the big catch is being at the theater to check-in and the availability of seats. I aim for the weird times (like 1 PM in the afternoon) and don’t see the movies as soon as they come out. You also can’t see 3D flicks, but that’s NBD because I’m not into action films.

My goal this year is to start feeling brave enough to go to movies ALONE since my work schedule is so quirky.

It is accepted all the theaters near me and I bribed my sister and neighbor to get a pass too so we could have movie dates together for cheap-as-heck.

Capsule Wardrobe

Honey, I Really Did Shrink My Wardrobe

If you would have told me five years ago that I would embrace a minimalist wardrobe, I would have laughed until I cried. Seriously, I was a dedicated fashionista that loved a good deal. What I’ve learned though is that shrinking my wardrobe has brought me a lot of peace and calmness to my mornings. It feels so good to have everything working together and to look in my closet and have it make absolute sense.

Was this hard? Absolutely!

Was it worth it? Absolutely!

One of my biggest inspirations is this lady and her beautiful book just might be the ticket for you to whittle down your wardrobe (and a few other things!) in your life this year.

I have been documenting my journey on the blog and you can see where I started and where I’m at now over here.

My one smart investment has been Rent the Runway for special occasions. This girl isn’t into one-trick-ponies anymore so I enjoyed their Unlimited services for the holidays and it was a blast, without taking up a lot of closet space as a commitment.

blue-apron

I Learned to Cook New Things For My People

If you think bloggers don’t get into meal plan ruts, you are quite mistaken. I think burnout happens a lot with this job and we often ended up repeating the same meals over and over again so we don’t have to invent one more thing for the day. I got a subscription for the summer to Blue Apron and it has widened my perspective on so many things and brought me a ton of joy.

How does spending money on a meal subscription service pay off, right? I know! I didn’t think it was a good use of money either.

I *may* have made fun of people who did these.

The thing is,  it REALLY broadened my perspective on fruits and vegetables we had been neglecting at the grocery store and taught me some valuable cooking techniques that I would have NEVER tried or figured out on my own.

Blue Apron

The night that my kids and hubby were raving about eggplant about knocked me out of my chair. I was like, “WE ARE DOING THIS FOREVER.”

The biggest lesson I learned is how invaluable high heat is for roasting our veggies. I am now cranking my stove up to 450 degrees to roast everything and it has made everything taste like it is roasted and not steamed.

We have taken a break until next summer on this subscription so that I have the time and slowed down day that I need to get my most enjoyment out of this, but I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Tackling the challenge that I’m showing you, in the picture above, nearly did me in while they were doing the Master Chef challenges promo for their customers to try at home. This TEAM challenge was pulled off by ONE sweaty mom, but was declared the best meal of the bunch.

I’m not sure if that was true or everyone felt sorry for me after I tackled a TEAM challenge SOLO. I did that challenge though, LIKE A BOSS.

By the way, if you use this link, it should give you $30 off your first box and you can pick all the quick meals so you don’t look crazy like me.

It is almost like it’s your birthday too, amiright?

family

I had coffee with a friend and she shared such a valuable piece of wisdom with me that I wanted to share it with YOU too, as I wrap up my birthday post today. She said that 40 is where you are easing into the second half of your life and you realize who and what is important as you move into this second phase of your life. Who wants to spend the second half of their life keeping up with the Joneses, investing time into shallow relationships, making small talk, and living a life of overcommitment?

Nope, not this girl.

I want all the good stuff- the deep and the meaningful stuff. I want to savor these moments with my kids. I want to be present in this lucky partnership I have with my hubby. I want my friendships to be real and not flighty. I want to continue to give myself grace that life has looked differently, in many sobering ways, but I still have the ability to transform lives by sharing our story. I want to allow people in to see the cracks and brokenness, both online and offline. I want to work on my commitment to believe in God’s plan and timing… even though it looks nothing like the timeline I’ve drawn up.

My word this year is MINDFUL- mindful of my time, mindful of my words, mindful in my role as a mom and wife, mindful of where I invest my time (in my personal life AND business), mindful of our money, and mindfully being my authentic self.

I hope you’ll stick around because having you here has given me purpose in my steps MANY, MANY days!

Can you celebrate with me and share what’s one way you have learned to save your family money or a fun tip that has changed a routine? It would be a fantastic present today!

This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: It’s Marvelous, A Great Read, & Documentary Love

Friday, December 8th, 2017

thanksgiving-2017-4

It’s been such a long time since I have had a happy list so I wanted to swing back in and say hello.

The Thanksgiving weekend nearly did me in this year. I hosted a Thanksgiving feast for my siblings (thank goodness for those make-ahead recipes), had Thanksgiving with my family, ended up in urgent care with a kidney infection the day after, thought I was dying, then took my practically dead self to the Nutcracker to see our little soldier perform.

Luckily, I had a few days to recuperate before hitting the road with girlfriends for a girl’s trip to Omaha.

Minus the nearly dying part, it really was a great Thanksgiving!

We opted to go smaller this year with decorating. Last year the feature in Design Mom was a big motivator to really deck the halls. This year, we purchased a smaller artificial tree (I’m madly in love with this one because of its deep branches for ornament hanging) and only got one bin of our holiday goodies out.

That frees up so much more time to lay around in our pajamas and watch holiday movies. We made it through this one and this one already! I’d love to hear what your favorites are.

Here are three other things that are making me happy!

the-marvelous-mrs-maisel

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

I can’t say I have enjoyed a show as much as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in years.

The lead actress, Rachel Brosnahan, truly makes Mrs. Maisel come to life. She is a rich 1950’s housewife who feels like she has lost everything when she finds out her husband has been having an affair. She has supported him through his painfully awful stand-up comedian routines, at a local club, and now feels like a laughingstock herself. It leads to her drunkenly showing up in the club and wandering up on stage where she has the audience rolling. This is the start of a new life for her and we get to witness this woman coming into her own, while still flashbacking to the memories of their earlier courtship and marriage.

The way this show is shot is pretty phenomenal in itself. They manage to shoot long sequences in such unique ways that appear to be in one take. The vignettes that they can create, moving the story through the years, are jaw-dropping. The costumes and sets are absolute perfection. The plot moves quickly and is meaty!

We are plowing through the second half of the season this weekend. It has taken a lot of self-control this week to not stay up late and finish it. I think you would love this one too!

Manhattan Beach Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach has been on almost every top book of 2017 list ever created and now I see why. If you are looking for a compelling historical fiction read, I would highly recommend this one.

This is the first historical fiction novel from Egan, but reads almost like a thriller as you piece together the disappearance of a father. Anna Kerrigan, on the cusp of twelve years old, accompanies her father for a visit to see Dexter Styles. It is a mysterious relationship and visit that she is encouraged not to share with her family.

Later her father disappears and Anna finds herself working for the Brooklyn Naval Yard. She becomes their first female diver and is breaking the mold of what roles women have in assisting in the war. One evening she finds herself at a nightclub where she sees Dexter Styles again and begins to wonder if he might be the key to understanding her father’s disappearance.

If you enjoyed Saints for All Occasions, I think you would enjoy this one too. It surprised me as much as Sullivan’s book as Egan weaves together this compelling plot so vividly that you will have trouble putting it down.

Curious George Documentary

 

Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators

The most surprising and moving documentary we watched this month was Monkey Business about the creators of the Curious George series. The entire film is incredibly animated and tells a compelling story of the writers that moved me to tears. I don’t want to spoil the story for you or your family, but there was far more than meets the eye when it comes to the creation of Curious George and includes an unbelievable adventure as the couple were evacuated from Paris (with the invasion of the Nazis) and they rode bicycles with his story tucked in their bicycle basket.

This is one you could watch with the kids and the animation is absolutely ASTOUNDING. Animated from start to finish, it is so beautifully done and tells such a different story than I had ever expected. It is a timely story as it explores their struggles as immigrants. In fact, Curious George himself could be called an immigrant too.

Watch it- you won’t regret it!!

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

 Eating: I just made another batch of this Orange Chicken last night to share while we watched another holiday movie. We ALL were in heaven with this make-at-home takeout dish. I paired it with my favorite brown rice method. So happy I have leftovers today!

rent the runway

Glamming It Up: I treated myself to an unlimited pass to Rent the Runway for the holidays and my birthday month (it is my big 4-0!!!) and I am having so much fun playing dress-up for the holidays. I can’t recommend this fun option enough for the season of family photos, holiday parties, and unlimited friend gatherings. A month cost me about what I would have spent on a cocktail dress for my hubby’s work party so I feel good about this investment. Plus, it doesn’t conflict with my capsule wardrobe intentions!

Contemplating: This article this week. I plan to dive deep into this one in the upcoming weeks. I think it is an important discussion and a common misconception on what self-care really means.

Giving: Book of the Month gift cards for the holidays. I’m actually not a member so I am excited that you receive a free book credit if you are the giver. I am hoarding my credit for the January selections. Did you see what I read last month? Good stuff!

Back to This: I just know you all love my frequent posts on my OCD with hair removal so I’m back to using this again after a break. Can’t believe that price and an additional $10 off this week. Painful, but effective! I’m finding pairing that with a dry brush (this is the one I use for about $4) before using it seems to help with ingrown hairs. Haven’t heard of dry brushing? This article explains the benefits.

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!